Vital Essentials Mini Patties Cat Food (Freeze-Dried) Review And Nutritional Analysis

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  • Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
  • Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
  • Above average protein content – 1 Star
  • Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
  • Catological Discretionary Rating – 1 Star

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit is one of our top 3 choices for best freeze-dried cat food overall.

Here’s a few important points:

  • Packed with high-quality meat ingredients, including organ meat
  • Very close to a natural, wild diet – very biologically appropriate
  • Absolutely no fillers

Vital Essentials Mini Patties product line includes 4 freeze-dried recipes/flavors.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).

The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.

vital essentials mini patties

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Turkey

Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis52%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis57%16%14%
Calorie Weighted Basis51%36%13%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Fiber (guaranteed analysis)




Is real, named meat the first ingredient?



Finely Ground Whole Rabbit, Rabbit Heart, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Lungs, Rabbit Kidney, Rabbit Trachea, Rabbit Blood, Raw Goat’s Milk, Water, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-Alpha Tocopherol.

Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.

Ingredient Breakdown

The first ingredient in this cat food is finely ground whole rabbit. Good.

Rabbit is an excellent food that is fairly commonly eaten by wild cats. 

An entire ground rabbit means that the cat will be eating the innards, bones, and everything else that he would consume if he caught one in nature.

Very biologically-appropriate.

The second ingredient is rabbit heart. Good.

You may not love the sound of it, but your cat sure does.

Organ meat has vital nutrients your kitty needs.

It is pure muscle, which means it’s full of protein. It also has minerals and important vitamins that white meat does not have.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The third ingredient is rabbit liver. Good.

Liver is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The fourth ingredient is rabbit lungs. Good.

Lungs are an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The fifth ingredient is rabbit kidneyGood.

Kidney is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The sixth ingredient is rabbit trachea. Good.

Trachea is an important internal element that your cat would eat in the wild. It is packed with protein and fiber.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The seventh ingredient is rabbit blood. Good.

Blood can be used as a gelling agent or thickener.

It is a more biologically appropriate ingredient than wheat gluten or other plant materials.

It may have some benefits for digestibility, and makes the food taste and feel better to cats, as well as being biologically appropriate.

The eighth ingredient is raw goat’s milk. Good.

Goat’s milk is not pasteurized like the cow’s milk we buy in the store, which means that the enzymes, like lactase, that help it digest, are not stripped away.

That being the case, this raw goat’s milk turns out to be an amazingly vitamin and amino-acid rich source of protein for kitty, and is a very innovative ingredient to put in alongside a large amount of meat.

This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals. 

To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).

The Catological Verdict on Vital Essentials Mini Patties

From top to bottom, this is an above average freeze-dried product.

From the numerous cuts of rabbit meat, to the lack of fillers, to the addition of unique, appropriate ingredients like raw goat’s milk, this just ticks all of the boxes.

This is a fantastic example of the type of food you should be feeding your cat.

Since this food is almost exclusively meat. we can assume that this is a meat-based cat food.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 57% protein, 16% fat, and 14% carbs.

As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 52%, and average fat content of 18%, and an average carb content of 17%.

It’s important to remember that the carbs in this are not coming from fillers or plant sources. It is likely coming almost exclusively from the goat’s milk.

Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:

  • Above average protein.
  • Average fat.
  • Average carbs. (Again, remember that these are not from plant sources)

Because it contains almost exclusively quality meat products, our rating for this brand is 5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Vital Essentials Cat Food Recall History

We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.

Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.

However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat. 

Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Vital Essentials brand in the past:

  • April 2018 – potential to be contaminated with Salmonella – 2 recipes affected
  • February 2018 – potential to be contaminated with Salmonella – 1 recipe affected
  • January 2016 – salmonella – 1 recipe affected

If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)

Where To Buy Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Cat Food

We recommend purchasing your pet products from They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy. 

Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders. 

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!